The quote, the best summation of why we should not honor the war dead, comes from the great antiwar movie The Americanization of Emily, script by Paddy Chayefsky. The lead character American Charlie Madison (James Garner) speaks to to his English girlfriend's (Julie Andrews) mother, who lost her husband, son, and son-in-law in the World War II:
I don't trust people who make bitter reflections about war, Mrs. Barham. It's always the generals with the bloodiest records who are the first to shout what a Hell it is. And it's always the widows who lead the Memorial Day parades . . . we shall never end wars, Mrs. Barham, by blaming it on ministers and generals or warmongering imperialists or all the other banal bogies. It's the rest of us who build statues to those generals and name boulevards after those ministers; the rest of us who make heroes of our dead and shrines of our battlefields. We wear our widows' weeds like nuns and perpetuate war by exalting its sacrifices.In other words, it is we who must stop the madness because it is we who make it possible in the first place.